Remittances and Protest in Dictatorships

Abel Escribà-Folch, Covadonga Meseguer, Joseph Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Remittances—money migrant workers send back home—are the second largest source of international financial flows in developing countries. As with other sources of international finance, such as foreign direct investment and foreign aid, worker remittances shape politics in recipient countries. We examine the political consequences of remittances by exploring how they influence antigovernment protest behavior. While recent research argues that remittances have a pernicious effect on politics by contributing to authoritarian stability, we argue the opposite: Remittances increase political protest in nondemocracies by augmenting the resources available to potential political opponents. Using cross-national data on a latent measure of antigovernment political protest, we show that remittances increase protest. To explore the mechanism linking remittances to protest, we turn to individual-level data from eight nondemocracies in Africa to show that remittance receipt increases protest in opposition areas but not in progovernment regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)889-904
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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